Old Testament In a Year: December 19 – Ezra 5, 6, 7

Ezra 5, 6, 7
Focus Verse: For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach His statutes and rules in Israel. – Ezra 7:10

Before others knew it, God knew that Ezra had set his heart to study His Law because God is constantly looking at the inward state of people and not at their outward state. As a result of Ezra’s determination and dedication to practicing righteousness, the good hand of God was on him.

Ezra not only set his heart to study God’s Law. He also set his heart to do God’s Law. And then, he set his heart to teach others God’s Law.

When not only our mouths say we want to study God’s Word, but also our hearts are set to study God’s Word, then God will know that we are serious about knowing Him, loving Him, and following Him. When our hearts are intent on studying God’s Word, we will not be content to just read it, but we will be moved to do it. Once we do God’s Word and realize the joy, blessings, and satisfaction it brings, then we will want to teach or share God’s Word with others, so that they too can get in on the good life that God’s Word makes possible.

It is no easy task, however, to truly study God’s Word. In order to gain as much knowledge as possible about God’s Word, so that it becomes a part of us, and we know what is to be done and what is not to be done, then we cannot settle for a surface-level understanding of it. We must take time (even away from other things) to dig deep, to search it, and to meditate on it.

Once we have dug deep in God’s Word, and searched it, and meditated on it, we must then apply it. Ezra did not settle for having a theoretical theology. He was also concerned with the practical application of God’s Law. Let us put what we read into practice, exercise what we study, and live out the Scripture we meditate on.

Old Testament In a Year: December 5 – Ezra 1, 2

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Ezra 1, 2
Focus Verse: In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing. – Ezra 1:1

God moved upon the heart of a heathen king to have His word fulfilled and to have His will done concerning His people.

Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord like channels of water; He turns it wherever He wants.” For those who follow Christ, this is a reminder that we need not be discouraged by governmental leaders or by leaders in other spheres whose behavior does not honor God. The power and influence that they wield is not theirs, but God’s. They are not really the ones in control, God is.

God holds the hearts of all people in His hands, even the hearts of kings and queens and presidents and prime ministers. He can turn these hearts in whatever way He so pleases. He can move even the most unlikely leaders to do what is right and use them to have His will done on earth as it is done in Heaven.

Therefore, our hope should not be in human beings, but in the One who made them. Our eyes should not be watching the actions of people. Our eyes should be watching God.

1 Year In God’s Word: Day 358 — Ezra 8-10, Revelation 16

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Ezra 8
Focus Verse: I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” (22)

God’s gracious hand is for all those who acknowledge Him in all their ways. It is against those who refuse to look to Him. Because Ezra and those who were with him trusted in God for protection, they did not ask for the king’s soldiers. God honored their faith by hearing their prayer and by protecting them from enemies and bandits on their journey.

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1 Year In God’s Word: Day 353 — Ezra 5-7, Revelation 11

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Ezra 5
Focus Verse: This is the answer they gave us: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished. (11)

For those who are servants of God, authorization from humans is not needed to carry out His work. God’s ever-watching eye will protect them from all opposition.

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1 Year In God’s Word: Day 340 — Ezra 3-4, 1 John 5

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Ezra 3
Focus Verse: With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. (11)

Even though the Israelites had been in exile for many years – first in Babylon and then in the land of the Medes and Persians – they did not forget the goodness of the Lord. They knew their past time of prosperity, power, and peace was due to His goodness. They also recognized that their present time of punishment was because of His goodness. And the only reason they were back in their own land, rebuilding the altar and temple, was because of His goodness and because of His love which endures toward Israel and forever and ever. His love toward me and you endures forever too.

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1 Year In God’s Word: Day 339 — Ezra 1-2, 1 John 4

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Ezra 1
Focus Verse: In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing. (1)

Jeremiah prophesied that after several long years the Jewish exiles would return to their land and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus, king of Persia, issued the proclamation that fulfilled this prophecy.

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